Putting the ball into the net comes quite easily for hockey player Olivia Shannon but accepting the duly deserved accolades isn't something she is accustomed to.

"It was pretty cool but I, obviously, just put the ball in the net so I don't take the credit for everything," said Shannon after helping the Central Districts age-group team retain their Vantage National U18 girls (regional) tournament title in Dunedin last Saturday.

"To be fair, the whole team does all the work ... and it's pretty much my job to put the ball in the back of the net."

The Iona College year 12 boarder from Feilding was one of seven Hawke's Bay players in the team who emulated their feat of last year by remaining undefeated.


"It was pretty unreal because no one has ever done that before in New Zealand so we're the first team to win it back to back and we're pretty amped about that," says Shannon, revealing they had a strong team but players had put pressure on themselves to perform.

"All the girls took it on board quite well in the end so everyone played hockey really well."

The 17-year-old striker scored 10 goals in the week-long tourney and Kaitlin Cotter, a year 12 pupil of Napier Girls' High School, deposited nine in the net as second top goal scorer.

Shannon also was named the MVP of the tourney, something she feels is an endorsement of all the hard work she has been putting in during four years with the side. She will still be eligible to represent Central U18s next year.

"Again the team makes you look good, which is pretty cool," says the teenager, who was MVP as an U15 rep in 2016.

Anna Crowley, of Taranaki, captained the champions with Verity Sharland, of Palmerston North, at the helm as coach and Henry Mulligan, of Gisborne, as her assistant and in his swansong season with the team. Bay midfielder Arabella Sheild was vice-captain.

She thanked Sharland and Mulligan for their work, patience and perseverance.

"They've been a big inspiration to all the girls in the team."


Central thrashed Southern 8-0 and Capital 10-1 before drawing 2-2 with Auckland but eclipsing them 4-1 in the penalty shootout.

They beat North Harbour 3-1 and outclassed Canterbury 5-1 before reloading against the latter in the final.

The Cantabrians must have picked the brains of the Aucklanders because they also drew 2-2 before Central's don't argue 4-1 statement following the penalty shootout.

Central won the crown in Whangarei last year, finding motivation in the slogan, "Create history and inspire the future", of the British women's Rio Olympics gold medal-winning team.

Shannon is clinging to the dream of making the Black Sticks team.

The New Zealand under-18 representative, who is in the Pathway to Podium programme, is aware selectors are taking note of the performances.

■ The Central U18 boys, with four Bay players, also finished fifth at the Vantage National (regional) tourney in Dunedin.

■ The Bay males finished fifth at the National U18s association tourney in North Harbour, losing their shot at a semifinal after conceding a goal in extra time in their quarterfinal.

■ The Bay girls won silver medals, losing to Canterbury at the national U18 association tourney in Palmerston North.

■ The three-day Big Save Small Sticks tourney, starting on Thursday in the Bay, has lured 25 teams this year.

Teams from Taupo, Gisborne and Levin will join Bay sides in a tourney where youths will umpire and co-ordinate it.


Hastings Boys' High School pair Jarvis Alitise and Fetuao "Isaac" Belcher scored all the goals for Samoa in their opening game of the Oceania under-16 tournament in Tonga yesterday. Alitise claimed a brace and Belcher the other against the Cook Islands.

The year 10 pupils, who are HBHS Super 8 First XI members, should start for Samoa against hosts Tonga in a 10am kick off today.


The Thirsty Whale-sponsored Hawke's Bay U15 boys' team bowed out in the final of the junior provincials in Christchurch yesterday.

The Mike Pawson and Luke Kenworthy-coached side lost to Southern Districts at the Action Indoor Sports Hornby and newly refurbished Howzat Indoor Sports Stadium.

The under-17 side lost in the semifinal to Canterbury.

The Hawke's Bay U15 Black netball team who came fourth at the nationals in Taranaki last week. Photo/supplied
The Hawke's Bay U15 Black netball team who came fourth at the nationals in Taranaki last week. Photo/supplied


Hawke's Bay lost 32-22 to Hamilton City A in the opening game of the New Zealand Under-17 Championship in Palmerston North yesterday.

Damp courts and a slippery surface resulted in a tentative start as the Bay struggled against a dogged defence.

They trailed 7-5 in the first quarter but some strong drives from centre Asher Grapes and wing attack Parris Petera found shooters Janayah Lewis and Imke Kitchen to lead 15-14 at halftime.

Increased Hamilton City pressure saw the Bay hesitant on attack.

Defenders Tabitha Coddington and Kiah McCorkindale, with Valentine Kahukuru, worked well to create doubts in the shooters' mind as the team averaged 12 turnovers a quarter but poor attacking let the Bay down.

Coach Lee-Anne Taylor said "the girls are bitterly disappointed in their court play particularly as they worked so hard on creating turnover ball but couldn't deliver to the shooters".

In the second game, they beat Hutt Valley Gold 46-33, a team they had lost in the pre-season tournaments by two goals and drawing the other.

Assistant coach Rebecca Martin said the players were more determined and stuck to the game plan.

Kitchin, shooting more than 90 per cent, created space and angles for Lewis, Petera and Grapes to feed passes.

McCorkindale and Kahukura defended well with Jaimee Tapine and Ashleigh Poi marshalling the wings dutifully.

Liana Mikaele-Tu'u and Maddison Kaye came on strongly in the attacking equation.

The Bay play Gisborne and Marlborough today in must-win games if they are to make the top 16 cross-over matches.

■ The Bay Black team have returned from the four-day North Island U15 championship in Taranaki last week beaming from ear to ear.

The teenagers finished fourth in the A grade, the best placing since competing in the champs from 2013.

They lost 35-15 to North Harbour in the semifinals before going down 35-25 to to Waitakere in the third-place playoff.

"This was an awesome achievement considering there were 54 teams competing in various grades and there were only Auckland teams ahead of us," said coach Cheryl Pohlen. "The team goal was top 4 at nationals and, as a team, they never lost sight of this goal."

Pohlen said it was a good sign for the Bay and the future looks secure.

U15 White team finished 12th in the B grade.

She thanked HB Netball, the team management and supporters.


Napier Boys' High School blindside flanker Josh Gimblett had a huge workrate for the Hurricanes under-18 Coles XV rugby side which beat their Blues counterparts 18-10 in Taupo on Sunday.

His NBHS 1st XV captain and hooker Tyrone Thompson was also outstanding in the Coles XV starting line-up. Hastings Boys' High School captain and loosie Liam Udy-Johns provided quality impact off the subs' bench at openside flanker.

Other Hawke's Bay players in the Coles XV were the NBHS pair of second five-eighth Keegan Christian-Goss and prop Jayden Walker and HBHS winger Michael Naitokani. Six Hawke's Bay players, the NBHS quartet of hooker Patrick Teddy, lock Tiaki Fabish, flanker Luke Russell and second five-eighth Leo Thompson and the HBHS pair of hooker Damarus Hokianga and fullback Gideon Kautai were in the Perenara XV which lost 34-10 to their Blues counterparts.